5 mistakes new managers make (and how to fix them)

Young people are often promoted fast in the public relations world. That can be good and bad. Here’s how to avoid the bad.


Motivated and capable young professionals may get promoted quickly into supervisory positions. However, many companies fail to provide adequate relationship management or leadership training.

New managers frequently make significant errors that not only undermine their authority, but also hurt company morale and productivity.

Here are five of those errors:

1. Suffering from snarky syndrome. Many new managers are overwhelmed with their own work. Supervisory and client management responsibilities add additional stress that often results in the manager interacting with colleagues in an abrupt or condescending manner. While not intentional, the tone and nature of interpersonal communication has a significant impact on those around you.

2. Delegating without providing context. Managers too often give task-based assignments without sharing the long-term strategic plan or business implications. Taking the time to explain the importance and relevance of even the most mundane tasks will help colleagues work hard to help meet business objectives, and they’ll feel more motivated to be part of your team.

3. Being bossy. With responsibility comes the privilege of overseeing the work of others. However, many new managers think that means telling people what to do. There is a distinct difference between being a boss and being a leader. A boss tells people what to do. A leader inspires, motivates, instills trust, and builds loyalty. Managers should strive to be great leaders, not great bosses. By focusing on leadership, staff will learn from you and want to contribute to your success, the clients’ as well as their own.

4. Adopting the role of control freak. New managers may not feel comfortable in their role. As such, they may have trouble letting go of substantial projects. Effective managers take risks and challenge their subordinates to handle increasing responsibility. Staffers will appreciate the trust and responsibility and will work harder to prove their value. Avoid micromanaging and instead, accept and embrace different work styles or approaches.

5. Hoarding credit. The best leaders do not feel threatened by others’ successes. Share the credit. Reward staffers for a job well done and advocate for them throughout the organization. Be specific with praise. Applaud them in front of their peers and senior managers. When a colleague feels confident you are rooting for their success, they will become more loyal to you and the organization. Well-crafted public congratulatory emails may be as effective as monetary rewards and may incentivize others to work harder.

Inspire future leaders by living and working with integrity and being patient as colleagues learn from and with you. Mentor and cultivate young talent. Managers, who possess self-awareness, humility and a willingness to collaborate, build loyal, motivated, and productive teams.

Lorra M. Brown is an assistant professor of public relations at William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J. Prior to her faculty position, she held senior positions at Ogilvy Public Relations and Weber Shandwick. Follower her on Twitter @LorraBrownPR, and read her blog, www.pr109.com.

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